The spurning of Adam Smith: Center Director Emeritus Johnson op-ed on international trade in The Hill

C. Donald Johnson, Director Emeritus of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, just published an op-ed in The Hill, a publication based in Washington, D.C.

Entitled “Trump team spurns Adam Smith with its trade stance”, the op-ed recounts Johnson’s meetings with colleagues in Geneva, Switzerland, headquarters of the World Trade Organization, and elsewhere in Europe. Johnson writes:

“Common questions discussed at each meeting involved whether the WTO can continue to function if the United States clogs the dispute settlement system, refuses to comply with its rules or simply withdraws from participation.”

He characterizes the current U.S. administration’s approach as “a complete reversal of American policy since the 1930s of promoting the free-market policies of Adam Smith,” pointing to U.S. disputes with China and others as examples.

The full op-ed by Johnson – who served as Ambassador, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 1998-2000, and who is the author of The Wealth of a Nation: A History of Trade Politics in America (Oxford University Press 2018) (prior posts) – is available here.

Georgia Law 3L Lauren Brown on her NATO externship in Belgium: “a full appreciation for the privileges we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear”

Pleased today to welcome this post by University of Georgia School of Law student Lauren Brown, working this Spring 2019 semester in Mons, Belgium, in the legal department of a leading unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Pictured above right, she is the inaugural holder of this externship, administered by our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center in partnership with NATO Allied Command Transformation. Lauren arrived at Georgia Law with considerable background in security policy, and her experiences here have included a Summer 2017 Global Externship Overseas at the nongovernmental organization War Child Holland. She is due to receive her J.D. degree this May, and thereafter to become an Associate at the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Squire Patton Boggs. Lauren recounts her ongoing NATO experience below.

The opportunity to work with the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Legal Advisor’s Office at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Staff Element Europe (SEE) has been a unique and exciting experience. At this halfway mark, I am very pleased with what I have been able to experience thus far, and I look forward to the coming weeks as the externship continues.

My observations can be broadly divided into three categories, legal experience, professional experience, and practical experience, each of which I discuss below.

Legal Experience

It is important to note that I have carefully crafted much of my previous and future working life to avoid two things: complex math and regulatory work. Accordingly, my hopes were somewhat dashed when I received my first assignment: Draft a data protection and privacy regulation.

The actual work, however, was absolutely fascinating. The ultimate challenge was to create a directive that provided sufficient data protection and privacy standards and that struck a balance among the disparate domestic standards. The work also involved coordination with existing data protection and privacy directives within other NATO bodies, in order to ensure the provisions allowed for a workable level of cohesion across policies.

The resulting effort felt very much like a logic puzzle, with each component capable of fitting, and the task being to figure out how to make it fit. The assignment was a tremendous introduction to the legal experience within the externship. It demonstrated that although focus and ambition are important, flexibility and an open mind are also critical. Without them, I would have missed an opportunity to participate in a fascinating project and expand my interests—even to include regulatory work.

Professional Experience

Before arriving at NATO, I had been extremely fortunate in that I’d had opportunities to work in several different cities, in several different professional environments. But I had never before experienced the working life of a military base. The primary adjustment has been the strictness of the adherence to decorum and hierarchy—and the impressive bureaucracy that accompanies such practice. In my time here, I have learned that even when the waters seem murky and the process opaque, there are always channels that move a little more swiftly, and success in such an organization appears to be directly related to one’s ability to identify and utilize such avenues.

Practical Experience

I have also enjoyed experiences that resonate beyond the professional sphere. Two such instances were particularly impactful:

  • The first occurred during a training on rules of engagement at NATO Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum in the Netherlands (site of the photos accompanying this post). By the time of this training, I had become accustomed to the presence of uniforms and their associated patches, which usually denote membership in a division or the service member’s assigned NATO unit. On the last day of the training, however, a new patch caught my eye: a large square stating the bearer’s blood type. The realization of when such a patch would be useful, and its place as a standardized part of the uniform, reminded me of a fact I had clearly forgotten: this exercise was not just theoretical. The reliance these men and women have on laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement dictate life and death choices in very real, and very dangerous, situations.
  • The second served largely the same realization; that is, it reinforced my understanding of the scale at which laws, and their functioning or not, can impact people. I met a friend in Paris for a weekend, and through a course of events that can sometimes happen during travel, we found ourselves marching with the so-called Yellow Vests calling for action against climate change. The group with which we marched was peaceful and numbered very close to 10,000. But a few hours later, we encountered the other group of Yellow Vests, the militant wing of violent rioters who burned or broke almost every structure they encountered. For me, the experience reiterated the idea that when laws or policies fail people, people may react. The rules that govern our social existence must be crafted and interpreted with care, and without negligence toward the future or the marginalized.

The patches and the protests were powerful reminders, both on an intimate and broader level, that what attorneys do matters. We cannot undertake our work with anything but a full appreciation for the privileges we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear.

I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to have such an experience while in law school, and I want to especially thank the NATO personnel with whom I have interacted in Belgium, including attorneys Lewis Bumgardner, Galateia Gialitaki, and Steven Hill, as well as Georgia Law professors Kathleen Doty and Diane Marie Amann, for making this externship possible.

Students in Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic win Board of Immigration Appeals case on behalf of asylum-seeker from Russia

Four students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic have just secured asylum relief for a Russian client, and in so doing earned hands-on experience in practicing law in today’s interconnected world.

The client, Rim Iakovlev, is a Jehovah’s Witness who had fled to the United States after a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court outlawed his religion. A U.S. immigration judge granted his petition for asylum. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appealed. It was at this point that the Board of Immigration Appeals, through its pro bono project, appointed Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic to represent asylum-seeker Iakovlev. The Board is an administrative appellate agency within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice.

Drafting the brief in the case, under supervision by Professor Thomas V. Burch, Director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, were four Georgia Law students: 3Ls Wade H. Barron, C. Daniel Lockaby, and Sarah A. Quattrocchi, and 2L Addison Smith. Their brief stressed consistencies in the accounts given by Iakovlev and his wife, and also refuted the DHS contention that the asylum-seeker was obliged to present a letter from his congregation attesting to his status as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Upon reading the parties’ briefs, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s decision to grant Iakovlev’s petition for asylum. DHS chose not to appeal the Board’s decision, so that Iakovlev was released from detention last week.

Update from Nigeria: attorney Chukwudi Ofili, LLM Class of 2018, reflects on his post-graduation year

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law LLM students, writing on their participation in our LLM degree and about their post-graduate experiences. Author of this post is alumnus Chukwudi Ofili, a member of the Class of 2018.

Chudi photoIt has been an eventful year for me. In January 2018, during my last semester at the University of Georgia, I began a corporate in-house counsel externship – an experiential learning opportunity open to qualified Georgia Law LLM students – at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta There, I had the opportunity to work on issues such as cybersecurity, imports, and Office of Foreign Assets Control compliance.

Following graduation, I took the New York bar examination in July.  When I learned that I had passed, I was in London, participating in the highly selective International Lawyers For Africa (ILFA) 2018 Flagship Secondment Programme (IFSP), which each year places lawyers from various African jurisdictions at highly reputed international law firms and corporations for a period of three months. I was placed with Trinity International LLP, a niche project and corporate finance firm focusing on energy, infrastructure, resources, and industry. During my secondment, I worked on some international transactions, with focus on financing power and infrastructure projects across the African continent.

Chudi speechIFSP was an enriching and exciting experience. It included training programs and networking events that introduced the participants to some of the brightest minds in the international legal market, in diverse practice areas. In particular, the networking opportunities were immense and may not be replicated in our lives on such a scale. I was pleased to selected to deliver the valedictory address for the London IFSP cohort at the ILFA Gala Night, which marked the end of the program.

I am now happy to be back in Nigeria at Bloomfield Law Practice, in the Corporate, Securities, and Finance practice group. I was recently interviewed for an article in THISDAY Newspaper Nigeria Legal Personality of the Week. In the interview, I expressed my hopes for good prospects in 2019. The year is already off to a good start: I’ve just completed a co-authored article,  Recognition and Enforcement of Cross-Border Insolvency; Nigeria in Perspective.

I came to Georgia Law after working with my firm, Bloomfield Law Practice, having graduated with first-class honors from Babcock University in Nigeria. At Georgia Law, I was the recipient of a prestigious graduate research assistantship, and participated in the Business Law Society.

I will always recommend the Georgia Law LLM curriculum, as it is tailored to each student’s career goals; for example, preparing to sit for a U.S. bar exam, or pursuing a concentration. Plus, students come to find out that Athens (which is just about an hour away from Atlanta) is a lovely place for studies, with friendly people.

Delivering prestigious Gresham College Fulbright Lecture in London, Georgia Law Professor Lori Ringhand analyzes laws regulating online election campaign spending in US and UK

Pleased today to welcome back Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, and, this Spring 2019 semester, a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. In connection with her US-UK Fulbright award, Professor Ringhand gave a prestigious lecture this past Tuesday, April 2, in London. Her account of that lecture – available on video – is below.

I recently had the pleasure of delivering the Gresham College Fulbright Lecture at the Museum of London. Gresham College has been offering free public lectures to residents of London for more than 400 years, and has been offering Fulbright lectures in partnership with the US/UK Fulbright Commission for decades.  Recent Gresham lecturers include eminent public law scholar Vernon Bogdanor,  historian and author Timothy Garton Ash, and current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

My lecture focused on the challenges faced by lawmakers in the United States and the United Kingdom as they try to ensure that campaign finance laws remain relevant in the age of widespread online electioneering. As both nations have discovered, our existing regimes are not built for a world in which political advertising spreads, rapidly, organically, and often anonymously, through online social media platforms.

Regulators in the US and the UK nonetheless rarely look to each other’s experiences to inform their own thinking in this complex area. The election law systems of each country are seen as so fundamentally different that comparative consideration seems pointless.

As I explained in my Gresham Lecture, I disagree.

The differences in regulatory approaches certainly are real, and significant:

  • In the UK, political spending is limited, and most of it runs through political parties and regulated third-party campaigners, with outside or unregulated groups historically playing little role.
  • In the US, in contrast, political spending is increasingly dominated by outside groups, which can both raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, often entirely outside of the federal regulatory system.

But in regard to regulating online election activity, the similarities between the two nations are much more meaningful than the differences. As I laid out in the talk, the regulatory challenges presented by online electioneering difficult in both principle and practice, but they are fundamentally the same in each country. Consequently, there is a great deal we can learn from each other in this area.

I hope my lecture helps us take a necessary first step in that direction.

Georgia Law Dean Bo Rutledge, student Katherine Larsen to speak to Atlanta International Arbitration Society on ECJ ruling, proposed treaty

Later this week, international arbitration expert Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean and Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, will co-present with 2L Katherine Larsen at a luncheon meeting of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society (AtlAS). The lecture, entitled “Achmea and the Proposed International Mediation Convention: Implications for the U.S. Lawyer,” will take place 12 noon-1:30 p.m. this Friday, April 5, at the Atlanta office of King & Spalding.

The presentation will discuss the recent decision of the European Court of Justice in Achmea v. Slovakia, the proposed Singapore Convention on Mediation, and the implication of these developments for lawyers in the United States.

The meeting is open to the public. Persons interested in attending who are not AtlAS members should RSVP to ruskintlaw@uga.edu.